All the advice says to use a letting agent to help you with your buy to let properties, but what does a letting agent do and how does it help?
What does a letting agent do?
A letting agent is a term for a facilitator through which an agreement is made between a landlord and tenant for the rental of a residential propertyWikipedia
Evidently, good letting agents are experts in the legislation, regulations, and laws in the private rental sector. As a result they can help you properly manage and rent out your property.
Basically, there are a variety of services that letting agents will offer to take some of the administrative burden away from the landlord. But be aware that how much a letting agent charges depends on the level of service and on the geographical location.
Every letting agent is different, but there are some common services on offer.
Tenant find is where the letting agent literally finds a suitable tenant to rent your property.
They do this by advertising it in the appropriate places. They are around to attend viewings and answer questions for prospective tenants. Then they conduct the tenant referencing checks before setting up a tenancy agreement to be signed by the tenant and the landlord.
Choosing this service means that you get someone else to do the first stage. After that you do all the other stages of managing the tenancy yourself.
As well as tenant find services, another popular service is rent collection. For the most part, this is added onto tenant find services. i.e. the letting agent collects the protected deposit and collects the rent from the tenant as well. Consequently, if its needed, they manage rent arrears including serve notices etc.
Fully managed means that you ask the letting agent to do all of the tasks to manage your property. They take on most of the tasks that usually fall to the landlord. This includes:
- finding a tenant
- collecting the rent
- inspecting the property
- handling calls from the tenant
- resolving issues and fixing problems
- inventory creation
- refunding any deposit
Obviously you should use these services with caution. Even if the letting agent is managing the property, the landlord still has legal responsibility for it. This is because the law sees you as always being the one responsible for properties you own.
Should we use one or not?
After all that, whether or not we should use a letting agent depends on a bunch of questions.
- how many properties we have
- where we live in relation to the managed property
- actually how hands on we want to be as a landlord